Coming to Him [ as ] to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood,
First of all, let me clarify that the passage just quoted is, in context, speaking of Jesus the Christ. He was rejected as the promised Messiah of Israel, not by all men, or even many men, universally speaking, but by a select group of men, the majority of whom were the religious leaders of the House of Israel in the 1st century. Whether one believes that Jesus was THE Son of God, in Essence, a unique historical figure, or whether one accepts the Truth of the Christ, or Chrism within all, it should be understood that the words above are not unique to the first century, or even to a peculiar people, but put forth a certain universal truth, one which should resonate with all human beings!
The Diversity of Humanity is so blatant that it needs no lengthy introduction. Personally speaking, every single human being on the face of this planet has different wants & needs, likes & dislikes. Most people, when it comes to relationships, from intimate to business, find some sort of compatibility, but even on more or less common ground, disagreements, from minor to major, tend to surface at any given point. Though these disagreements do not always cause problems, issues stemming from our diversity are bound to crop up.
The Divinity of Man ( kind ) is, in certain religious circles anyway, rather a taboo subject. This is rather a sad commentary, for even our own Scriptures point to this glorious fact! To be sure, there are certain Scriptures, like Psalm 51 & I John 1:9, for instance, that seem to point to man's innate sinfulness & wickedness. Jeremiah 17:9 is another such 'proof-text' that shows unequivocally that humanity is 'bad to the bone'. Although it is hard to deny, in the case of certain people especially, that man ( kind ) is not born in sin, due to the fall of the biblical 'Adam' ( Genesis 3 ), it is hardly a foregone conclusion that humanity, in general, is destined, either for 'Heaven' or 'Hell'.
In the Eastern religions, particularly the Far Eastern ones, but even in some of the more esoteric traditions of the Ancient Near East, the Divinity of Man is not only explored, but even accepted & glorified. The possibility of every human being to manifest the Christ ( depending of course on the culture one comes from ) is taught as a universal truth. The steps necessary to achieve this exalted status do not include following any certain ( established ( institutional ) religion, but are wholly dependent upon the individual & based upon their own personal choices.
The Divinity of Humanity is a glorious fact! Although, as we've seen, all do not manifest this divinity & so become more animalistic in their nature, there are those who do choose to manifest the Christ Within & thus show ( prove ) their Divinity. These become Masters, or Teachers & every Teachers must, of necessity, have Students. Thus, as Time marches on, we will see more & more of the Students become Masters, or Teachers themselves; so will the Circle of Life continue until, as our Scriptures say, ' ' ( Habakkuk 2:14 ( Isaiah 11:9 ). Both of these passages, though they hold universal truth, are again primarily referring to the fulfillment of events in the ANE ( Ancient Near East ) in the first century A.D..
It is well-known that in the East, not the West, we have what is called 'The Cradle of Civilization'! It was there that humanity first began, through religion ( which, as per usual, became corrupted ), to seek the Divinity Within. Humanity, though not through what we have known as 'The Fall' ( Genesis 3 ) has an innate tendency to prove that old saying, 'power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely'! Every man, woman & child has the free-will choice to decide, as Cain ( Genesis 4 ) did, whether to rule over our emotions ( 'ego'-you name it ) or whether to let our desires rule over us. Depending on those choices, we manifest the Christ Within, or we allow our animal nature to rule us & more often than not, end up by murdering our brother.
However we choose, according to our human nature or our divine nature, we remain, in Essence, One with the Divine ( Creator, Source ). Whether in this life or the next ( or the next ), the evolution of the soul will inevitably prove the glories of this divine fact! As humanity gradually awakens to this awareness, more & more will seek Masters to guide them in their spiritual evolution ( 'development', if you wish ), then, becoming Masters themselves, will attract more & more Students, thus completing the ever-expanding circle.
The notion that Man ( kind ) is born into sin, biblically speaking, is as false as the day is long! As above, it is hard to deny the inglorious fact that there are those, whether based on some sort of religious conditioning or not, have chosen to allow their lower, animal nature to rule them & so have squelched the Spirit Within ( I Thessalonians 5:19 ). However, the choice remains; it is not because of some inheritance ( although we do, in our evolution, develop certain tendencies ) that we are prone to miss the mark. Our conditioning helps us to decide whether we will act wrongly or rightly, according to our human ( animal ) or divine nature.
In the midst of our diversity, as human beings, we must realize our true nature, that of divinity, or in Essence, Oneness with the Source of Life. Even the worst, most animalistic human being ( so that he or she can barely be called 'human' ) bears this Spark so that, no matter the amount of Time, they must eventually, through the evolution of the soul, come to realize this true nature & reach the culmination of the ages, to become who they were meant to be, personally speaking, according to the design of the Creator.
The Hidden Divinity of Man ( kind ) is such that one will eventually, whether in one or many lifetimes, realize their Oneness with the Divine, with the Source. Even according to our Scriptures ( Acts 17:26 ), we, as human beings, are all cut from the same cloth, so to speak. so why do we murder one another? Why do we tear one another down? It is because of our diversity, our different likes & dislikes, that we tear at one another like rabid dogs do with a piece of meat, but it is also because of, not in spite of, our diversity that we compliment each other. ( If we were all the same, humanly speaking, how compatible would we really be? ) We each, individually & personally, have a choice; we can allow our lower, animal nature ( emotions-not that emotions are a bad thing ) to rule our actions, or we can let go & divinely choose to awaken the Christ Within, the Chrism that resides within each & every one of us!
Charles Haddon Shank